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HKJC to pay HK$12.0bn in special football betting duty

| By Robert Fletcher
The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) has announced it is to begin paying a “special football betting duty” of HK$2.4bn (£253.3m /€287.5m/US$305.8m) per year in line with the government’s latest budget.
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The new duty will come into effect from the 2023-24 financial year and remain in place until 2027-28, with the HKJC to pay a total of HK12.00bn over the five-year period.

Confirmation of the new duty comes after the HKJC last month hit out at plans to increase the region’s football betting duty, warning that any permanent increase could “irreversibly” damage its business model.

The HKJC repeated this during the budget consultation, noting that Hong Kong’s betting duty rates are already among the highest in the world and any increase could benefit illegal and offshore betting operators. 

In addition, the HKJC said that such increases would adversely impact on the club’s ability to contribute to the community through its donations to the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust on a sustainable basis.

However, with Hong Kong still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic both economically and socially, the club said it understands the rationale behind the government’s decision to impose additional football betting duty on a temporary basis.

The HKJC also committed to maintaining its current level of charity donations to the local community – which amounted to HK$4.5bn in 2021-22 – during the five-year period.

“The club reiterates the paramount needs to maintain our global and sustainable competitiveness, to effectively combat illegal and offshore betting operators, and to seize the market opportunities through strategic investments in our IT systems and racing assets to strengthen our role as an international racing and wagering hub, similar to the role of Hong Kong being the country’s international financial centre,” the HKJC said.

“In this regard, we strongly appeal to the government to critically review and reduce the betting duty rates on a long-term basis, which are the highest in the world, in particular on horseracing which stand at 72.5% to 75%. 

“Moreover, we need the support of the government for the club to bring in more simulcast and world-pool opportunities. Furthermore, we also request the government to commence a review on the licensing conditions imposed on football betting, with a view to giving the club the much needed flexibility and competitiveness to respond to the ever increasing competitions and challenges from illegal and offshore betting operators, and to mitigate the impact of the decrease in revenues due to the additional football betting duty payment.”

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